1998 Brazilian general election

General elections were held in Brazil on 4 October 1998 to elect the President, National Congress and state governorships. If no candidate in the presidential election received more than 50% of the vote in the first round, a second-round runoff would have been held on 25 October. The election saw voting machines used for the first time in Brazilian history.

1998 Brazilian general election

← 1994 4 October 1998 2002 →
  Fernando Henrique Cardoso (1999) (cropped).jpg Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (cropped).jpg Cirogomes2006.jpg
Candidate Fernando Henrique Cardoso Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva Ciro Gomes
Alliance Union, Work and Progress Union of People Change Brazil Real and Fair Brazil
Home state São Paulo[b] São Paulo[c] Ceará[a]
Running mate Marco Maciel Leonel Brizola Roberto Freire
States carried 23 + DF 2 1
Popular vote 35,922,692 21,470,333 7,424,783
Percentage 53.06% 31.71% 10.97%

1998 Brazil Presidential Elections, Round 1.svg
Presidential election results by state

President before election

Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Elected President

Fernando Henrique Cardoso

Chamber of Deputies

513 seats in the Chamber of Deputies
Party Leader % Seats +/–
Chamber of Deputies
PSDB Teotônio Vilela Filho 17.54 99 +37
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 17.30 105 +16
PMDB Orestes Quércia 15.17 83 -24
PT José Dirceu 13.19 58 +9
PPB 11.35 60 New
PDT Leonel Brizola 5.67 25 -9
PTB Ricardo Ribeiro 5.66 31 0
PSB 3.41 19 +4
PL Alvaro Valle 2.47 12 -1
PPS 1.31 3 +1
PCdoB 1.30 7 -3
PRONA Enéas Carneiro 0.89 1 +1
PSD 0.76 3 0
PSC 0.67 3 0
PMN 0.54 2 -2
PST 0.29 1 New
PSL 0.27 1 New
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.

27 of the 81 seats in the Senate
Party Leader % Seats
PMDB Orestes Quércia 21.69 10
PT José Dirceu 18.42 6
PPB 14.95 1
PFL Jorge Bornhausen 11.40 5
PSDB Teotônio Vilela Filho 10.30 4
PSB 6.39 1
This lists parties that won seats. See the complete results below.

Elected in 1994 amidst a hyperinflation crisis, President Fernando Henrique Cardoso of the centre-right Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) prioritized price stability policies during his term.[1] Other notable policies pursued by Cardoso included the declaration of Decree 1775,[2] which allowed for increased commercial interest in indigenous lands, and the privatization of publicly-owned companies.[3] Vice President Marco Maciel of the conservative Liberal Front Party (PFL) served as Cardoso's running mate, as he did in the previous election.[4]

Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva of the Workers' Party (PT), a former labor leader and federal deputy, ran for the presidency for a third time.[5] Lula had previously run for the presidency in both 1989, where he lost to Fernando Collor, and 1994, where he lost to Cardoso. Lula chose Leonel Brizola of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), a longtime fixture of the Brazilian Left who was a chief competitor of his in 1989, as his running mate.

In addition to Lula, Ciro Gomes, a populist who previously served as Governor of Ceará and as Minister of Finance in the conservative government of President Itamar Franco, mounted his own campaign.[6] Running as a member of the centre-left Popular Socialist Party (PPS), Ciro attempted to present himself as a progressive alternative to Lula.

Cardoso won reelection with an absolute majority in the first round, negating the need for a second round. In doing so, he became the first President of Brazil to be reelected since the fall of the military dictatorship. Lula would later succeed him after winning the 2002 presidential election, and Ciro would mount a second presidential bid four years later in the 2002 presidential election, where he came in fourth place.


Fernando Henrique Cardoso, better known as "FHC", had been inaugurated as president on January 1, 1995, after defeating Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, his main rival in the 1994 election, in the first round by an advantage of almost 30 million votes.[1] FHC had based his first presidential campaign in the then newly launched Real Plan and the promise of stabilizing the economy of Brazil. As a matter of fact, the plan had a positive effect during the first years of his administration, being able to curb the exorbitant inflation rates, stabilize the exchange rate, and increase the purchasing power of the Brazilian population without shocks or price freezing.[1]

On the very first day of his administration, the Treaty of Asunción came into force.[1] Signed by Fernando Collor de Mello, it predicted the implementation of Mercosur, a free trade area between Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay.[1] Moreover, the first FHC administration was marked by political and economic reforms, such as the end of the state monopolies in oil and telecommunications, the reform on the social security plans, and the change in the concept of "national company".[1]

Although approved in the Congress, the reforms carried by the federal government met strong resistance from the opposition, most notably the Workers' Party, which fiercely criticized the privatization of companies such as Vale do Rio Doce and the constitutional amendment that allowed the re-election of officeholders in the Executive branch.[1] As a result, Peter Mandelson, a close aide to then British Prime Minister and Labour Party leader Tony Blair, alleged that the Workers' Party's proposals represented "an old-fashioned and out-of-date socialism".[7] At that time, FHC-Blair relations were magnified, once both of them were adherents of the Third Way.

Despite its political victories, the government needed to impose measures to cool down the domestic demand and help the trade balance, which eventually caused unemployment to grow and made the economy show signs of recession.[1] Other areas, such as health, education and land reform also suffered major crises.[1] The violent conflict in the countryside reached its peak with the Eldorado dos Carajás massacre. Thus, FHC's reelection campaign was based on the idea that the continuity of his government was essential for the stabilization to reach areas other than the economy, such as health, agriculture, employment, education, and public security.[1]

President Fernando Henrique Cardoso in 1998.

Presidential electionEdit


The 1998 presidential race had twelve candidates, the largest number of candidates since the 1989 election, when over twenty candidacies were launched. The number could have been as high as fifteen, but the Electoral Justice withdrew the candidacy of impeached President Fernando Collor de Mello,[8] while Oswaldo Souza Oliveira[9] and João Olivar Farias declined to run.

Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB)Edit

The Brazilian Social Democratic Party (PSDB) reprised the coalition which had elected Cardoso four years prior, comprising the Liberal Front Party (PFL) and the Brazilian Labour Party (PTB). They were joined by the Progressive Party (PPB), the Social Democratic Party (PDS), and the Social Liberal Party (PSL). Once again, PFL member Marco Maciel served as Cardoso's running mate.

Workers' Party (PT)

The Workers' Party reprised its past two candidacies, by launching former union leader and federal deputy Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva as its candidate and forming a coalition with the Communist Party of Brazil, and the Brazilian Socialist Party. Other PT members, such as former Mayor of Porto Alegre Tarso Genro, were mentioned as potential candidates.[10] Indeed, it was reported in 1997 that Lula was willing to give up his candidacy in favor of backing a bid by Genro, though this did not come to fruition.[11]

The novelty in this election was the choice of longtime fixture of the Brazilian Left Leonel Brizola, a member of the Democratic Labour Party (PDT), as his running mate. Unlike in 1994, when close Lula ally and fellow PT member Aloízio Mercadante was chosen as Lula's running mate, Brizola had previously been a rival of Lula's, serving as his main opposition on the left in the 1989 election. The PT previously refrained from forming coalitions with parties linked to varguista labour unions to guarantee the Central Única dos Trabalhadores' (CUT) independence. As a result, the United Socialist Workers' Party left the coalition and launched union leader José Maria de Almeida as its candidate.

Brizola was noted for his combative style in contrast to Lula's more "diplomatic" tone on the campaign trail, while led the Folha de S.Paulo to declare that he "outshine[d]" Lula in their first joint appearance.[10]

Leonel Brizola, a longtime fixture of the Brazilian Left, who served as the running mate of his former rival Lula in the 1998 election.

Socialist People's Party (PPS)Edit

Former Governor of Ceará Ciro Gomes run for president, and, therefore, his Socialist People's Party (PPS) did not join the Workers' Party coalition as they did in the previous election. After Oswaldo Souza Oliveira's quit the race, his Party of the Nation's Retirees decided to support Gomes.

Other candidatesEdit

After securing the third place in the 1994 election, Enéas Carneiro from the far-right Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order (PRONA) also run in 1998. This time, however, he only received 1.4 million votes, against 4.6 million in 1994. Carneiro's running mate was Irapuan Teixeira, a professor who would later become a member of the Chamber of Deputies as a member of PRONA.

This election also brought the second woman candidate ever: Thereza Tinajero Ruiz from the National Labor Party, which replaced Dorival Masci de Abreu.[12]

# Party/coalition Presidential candidate Political office(s) Vice-Presidential candidate
"Union of the People Change Brazil"
Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT) Federal Deputy from São Paulo 1987–91; PT National President 1980–88, 1990–94 Leonel Brizola (PDT)
16 José Maria de Almeida (PSTU) PSTU National President since 1993 José Galvão de Lima (PSTU)
19 Thereza Ruiz (PTN) Eduardo Gomes (PTN)
20 Sérgio Bueno (PSC) Ronald Azaro (PSC)
"Real and Fair Brazil"
Ciro Gomes (PPS) Minister of Finances 1994–95; Governor of Ceará 1991–94; Mayor of Fortaleza 1989–90; State Deputy of Ceará 1983–89 Roberto Freire (PPS)
27 José Maria Eymael (PSDC) PSDC National President since 1997; Federal Deputy from São Paulo 1986–95 Josmar Alderete (PSDC)
31 Vasco Azevedo Neto (PSN) Federal Deputy from Bahia 1971–89 Alexandre Santos (PSN)
33 Ivan Frota (PMN) João Ferreira da Silva (PMN)
43 Alfredo Sirkis (PV) City Councillor of Rio de Janeiro 1989–96 Carla Piranda Rabello (PV)
"Union, Work and Progress"
Fernando Henrique Cardoso (PSDB) President of Brazil 1995–2003; Minister of Finances 1993–94; Minister of Foreign Affairs 1992–93; Senator for São Paulo 1983–92 Marco Maciel (PFL)
56 Enéas Carneiro (PRONA) PRONA National President 1989–2006 Irapuan Teixeira (PRONA)
70 João de Deus (PTdoB) Nanci Pilar (PTdoB)



CandidateRunning matePartyVotes%
Fernando Henrique CardosoMarco Maciel (PFL)Brazilian Social Democracy Party35,936,54053.06
Luiz Inácio Lula da SilvaLeonel Brizola (PDT)Workers' Party21,475,21831.71
Ciro GomesRoberto FreirePopular Socialist Party7,426,19010.97
Enéas CarneiroIrapuan TeixeiraParty of the Reconstruction of the National Order1,447,0902.14
Ivan FrotaJoão Ferreira da SilvaParty of National Mobilization251,3370.37
Alfredo SirkisCarla Miranda RabelloGreen Party212,9840.31
José Maria de AlmeidaJosé Galvão de LimaUnited Socialist Workers' Party202,6590.30
João de DeusNanci PilarLabour Party of Brazil198,9160.29
José Maria EymaelJosmar AldereteChristian Social Democratic Party171,8310.25
Thereza RuizEduardo GomesNational Labour Party166,1380.25
Sérgio BuenoRonald AzaroSocial Christian Party124,6590.18
Vasco Azevedo NetoAlexandre José dos SantosNational Solidarity Party109,0030.16
Valid votes67,722,56581.30
Invalid/blank votes15,575,29818.70
Total votes83,297,863100.00
Registered voters/turnout106,101,06778.51
Source: Nohlen[13]

Chamber of DeputiesEdit

Brazilian Social Democracy Party11,684,90017.5499+37
Liberal Front Party11,526,19317.30105+16
Brazilian Democratic Movement Party10,105,60915.1783–24
Workers' Party8,786,49913.1958+9
Brazilian Progressive Party7,558,60111.3560New
Democratic Labour Party3,776,5415.6725–9
Brazilian Labour Party3,768,2605.66310
Brazilian Socialist Party2,273,7513.4119–4
Liberal Party1,643,8812.4712–1
Popular Socialist Party872,3481.313+1
Communist Party of Brazil869,2701.307–3
Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order592,6320.891+1
Social Democratic Party503,7130.7630
Social Christian Party446,2560.6730
Party of National Mobilization360,2980.542–2
Green Party292,6910.440–1
Progressive Republican Party255,5090.380–1
Labour Party of Brazil216,6400.3300
Social Labour Party193,5620.291New
United Socialist Workers' Party187,6750.2800
Social Liberal Party177,0370.271New
National Solidarity Party136,8290.210New
National Labour Party64,7120.100New
Party of the Nation's Retirees62,6530.090New
Christian Social Democratic Party62,0570.090New
National Reconstruction Party54,6410.080–1
Brazilian Labour Renewal Party53,7780.0800
Brazilian Communist Party49,6200.0700
Workers' General Party27,8250.040New
Workers' Cause Party8,0670.010New
Valid votes66,612,04879.98
Invalid/blank votes16,668,70720.02
Total votes83,280,755100.00
Registered voters/turnout106,053,10678.53
Source: Nohlen,[14] Senate


Brazilian Democratic Movement Party13,414,07421.691026
Workers' Party11,392,66218.4267
Brazilian Progressive Party9,246,08914.9513
Liberal Front Party7,047,85311.40520
Brazilian Social Democracy Party6,366,68110.30416
Brazilian Socialist Party3,949,0256.3913
Democratic Labour Party3,195,8635.1704
Brazilian Labour Party2,449,4793.9601
Popular Socialist Party1,846,8972.9901
Communist Party of Brazil559,2180.9000
Party of the Reconstruction of the National Order376,0430.6100
Social Christian Party371,8730.6000
United Socialist Workers' Party371,6180.6000
Social Labour Party213,6430.3500
Green Party163,4250.2600
Party of National Mobilization144,5410.2300
Christian Social Democratic Party114,5730.1900
National Solidarity Party110,0800.1800
National Reconstruction Party99,0770.1600
Progressive Republican Party76,9690.1200
Liberal Party71,9740.1200
Brazilian Labour Renewal Party67,5860.1100
Labour Party of Brazil62,0860.1000
Party of the Nation's Retirees43,3890.0700
National Labour Party42,0420.0700
Social Democratic Party18,6470.0300
Social Liberal Party12,8700.0200
Workers' General Party11,8100.0200
Workers' Cause Party2740.0000
Valid votes61,840,36174.26
Invalid/blank votes21,435,56825.74
Total votes83,275,929100.00
Registered voters/turnout106,053,10678.52
Source: Nohlen,[15] IPU


  1. ^ Born in São Paulo, electoral based in Ceará
  2. ^ Born in Rio de Janeiro, electoral based in São Paulo
  3. ^ Born in Pernambuco, electoral based in São Paulo


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j MASON, Anthony. Memórias do Século XX - Vol. 6: Tempos Modernos, 1970-1999. Translated and adapted by Maria Clara de Mello Motta. Rio de Janeiro: Reader's Digest, 2004. ISBN 85-7645-016-X
  2. ^ Moore, Sara Gavney; Lemos, Maria Carmen (1999-05-01). "Indigenous Policy in Brazil: The Development of Decree 1775 and the Proposed Raposa/Serra do Sol Reserve, Roraima, Brazil". Human Rights Quarterly. 21 (2): 444–463. doi:10.1353/hrq.1999.0026. ISSN 1085-794X. S2CID 144099400.
  3. ^ "Primeiro Governo de Fernando Henrique Cardoso". Mundo Educação (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  4. ^ "Leonel Brizola, 82; Brazilian Politician". Los Angeles Times. 2004-06-23. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  5. ^ Boas, Taylor C. (2016-03-04). Presidential Campaigns in Latin America: Electoral Strategies and Success Contagion. Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-1-316-54626-0.
  6. ^ "Folha de S.Paulo - Partido pode apoiar Ciro Gomes - 30/6/1998". www1.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  7. ^ "Mandelson under fire in Brazil". BBC News. 1998-07-23. Retrieved 2010-11-01.
  8. ^ "O Caso Collor - A tentativa de retorno" Archived June 9, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. Superior Electoral Court. December 19, 2008. Accessed December 2, 2010.
  9. ^ MENEZES, Ana Cláudia. "Candidatos passam o Dia dos Pais com as famílias" Archived 2011-10-02 at the Wayback Machine. A Notícia. August 10, 1998. Accessed December 2, 2010.
  10. ^ a b "Folha de S.Paulo - Brizola ofusca Lula em 1° ato conjunto - 22/11/97". www1.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2020-12-02.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  11. ^ "Folha de S.Paulo - Lula apóia Tarso Genro para Presidência - 12/05/97". www1.folha.uol.com.br. Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  12. ^ LARANJEIRA, Leandro. "Mulheres podem fazer história nas eleições de 2010" Archived 2012-03-08 at the Wayback Machine. Diário do Grande ABC. 10 de agosto de 2009. Acesso em: 28 de junho de 2010.
  13. ^ Dieter Nohlen (2005) Elections in the Americas: A data handbook, Volume II, p234 ISBN 978-0-19-928358-3
  14. ^ Nohlen, pp196-226
  15. ^ Nohlen, p213

External linksEdit